Ranga is the Director-Growth for Agora. He is responsible for the overall business and operations of Agora.io India and the SAARC region. His directive includes growing market share and driving healthy ecosystem growth among both partners and customers in the region. He comes with a strong Sales & Business Leadership background with over 25 years of in-depth industry experience. Prior to joining Agora.io, Ranganath co-founded Fetchon.com, worked with Syniverse Technologies, Verisign Inc, EFI, Unimobile and Micros Fidelio India in various capacities. He holds an Executive MBA from Narsee Monjee Institute of Management Studies and is a graduate in Arts from Osmania University along with a diploma in Hotel Management and Catering Technology. Ranga is a long-distance athlete, cyclist and field hockey enthusiast and takes part in many sporting and athletic events
The past year was a litmus test for business continuity and remote working. Through this, digital interactions have played an important role of guaranteeing minimal disruptions to work, output, and customer satisfaction.
From live streaming, to broadcasting, to video chat and beyond, Real-Time Engagement (RTE) technology is helping businesses bring new services and communication capabilities to the masses in newer ways. Core to this change is the evolution of real-time voice and video. We are now seeing an increase in app-based collaboration based on shared context, scalable connections and remote inclusivity. RTE incorporates all of this to accelerate digital interactions for businesses, making it a no-brainer for enterprises.
Video Conferencing is Passe, Shared Context is Key
After a year of video calls and meetings, businesses have realised the need to move beyond the limitations of standard video meetings to foster collaboration more naturally as well as enhancing customer experience. The most effective collaboration is “context first,” and not “video first” like traditional web conferencing applications. Being “context first” eliminates the awkwardness of attempting to achieve shared context via sharing screen in a web conferencing app. Adding voice and video functionality to the existing applications and digital world is just the beginning. The ability to build Artificial Intelligence (AI) Augmented Reality (AR) or Virtual Reality (VR) capabilities directly into interactive experiences brings forward new business possibilities for shared context.
Innovative companies are using the powerful combination of RTE and AR to do work remotely that was earlier done in person. For example, Wipro, brings people and expertise together using AR and real-time video to enable remote consultation with experts in a wide range of industries from medicine to aerospace. The company ARUtility keeps job sites safe by combining AR and interactive voice/video, giving workers “x-ray vision” to locate utility lines and prevent accidents, saving companies from having someone to physically visit the site for consultation.
RTE has also enabled many otherwise traditional processes to move from in-person to online. For example, in person events like wedding shopping, has now shifted online. WedMeGood utilizes RTE for live virtual shopping experiences with some of the most successful fashion brands in the bridal industry, thereby sustaining business momentum despite the pandemic.
Consumer technology often paves the way for enterprise adoption, and new advances like AR, VR, live interactive video shopping, and immersive livestream concert experiences show the new possibilities RTE offers. Beyond the consumer space, business-focused use cases can leverage this technology to connect workers for more engaging virtual collaboration. Training of students and doctors using live video overlayed with AR or VR adds a completely new dimension in the medical training and teaching domain as well.
Scalable Human-to-Human Connection Boosts Employee Engagement
Enterprises need the ability to scale interactivity from one-on-one human consultations to a company-wide training with thousands of participants across the globe. While large-scale virtual events aren’t a new phenomenon, they are traditionally omni-directional or “one-to-many,” with a host or presenter addressing a large audience. These types of events quickly turn into a non-engaging obligation for employees if there is limited or no interaction. With RTE, these events can become far more compelling and engaging.
For example, Virbela’s platform provides virtual environments like an auditorium or the beach for participants to communicate, collaborate, meet and socialize as avatars at scale. RTE enables Virbela to promote dynamic collaboration methods to meet the needs of scaling companies. Organizations can host company-wide meetings, large-scale conferences, and more within Virbela. The ability for everyone to interact regardless of their physical location keeps employees engaged and productive throughout.
Such, large-scale, interactive, and multi-directional communication allows enterprises to engage better with their employees, customers as well as partners. A one-way 2-hour digital town hall meeting can seamlessly transform into an exciting interactive experience, boosting employee satisfaction.
Participation on Any Device Fosters Inclusivity
Another essential element of RTE is the ability to engage on any type of device. While smartphones and laptops are the prototype, RTE works well even with next-generation devices like smart TVs and VR headsets, allowing complete flexibility for how and where people interact.
Previously VR only allowed users to connect with others who also owned VR hardware. HTC Vive and Agora have partnered to enable VR live streaming so users can share the elevated and immersive experience on any device, without the need for a VR headset. The fact that anyone can participate in the immersive VR experience without expensive hardware, allows enterprises to take advantage of VR’s more engaging environment without having to buy new headsets for everyone.
The Future is Now
While the future of digital business is under transformation, real applications of innovative AR and VR combined with RTE have begun in full swing. The possibilities continue to expand as any connected device can be used in RTE. Businesses need to determine how they can start implementing RTE to increase productivity, engagement, accessibility and inclusivity. Boosting these metrics will help in keeping established businesses relevant while helping new businesses break through and scale.